Guides:Dealing with People

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Intro

In Malton, you’re going to come across many people. With eighteen thousand, four hundred fifty-four other active characters (at time of writing), and only ten thousand spaces to occupy (fifteen thousand, four hundred fourty-nine, if you count ‘inside’ as separate from ‘outside’) there is, on average, at least one for every empty lot in Malton, and two for every building. Not all alive, not all dead. And with those odds, you won’t be able to go the route of the hermit forever. So what do you do with those people? You deal with them. Interpret that how you like. You can shake their hands, or let your axe buried in their frontal cortex say, ‘No, I don’t want a cup of tea right now,” for you, or just enforce the penalties of not paying their electric bill on the way out. You can bask in Barhah with ’mah zambah brazzahz’, or you can PWN 4LL T3H Z3DZ 4ND 4LLZ T3HZ FR13NDZZ WI7 M4H K474N4Z 7HRU 7H3R N00B1SH SKULLZZZZ LMFAO!!! Whether you turn your arms (and/or claws) on zeds, innocents, outlaws, or the vigilantes, you must deal with people. And this guide is not here to tell you what to do, but aid you in the process of discovering your preferential way of dealing with people. You may already know, and that’s fine. Move on, read on, it makes no difference to me. If you don’t know, and don’t care, then the same to you. But if you are wishing to read this for the purposes that this guide was designed for, the by all means have at it. I wish to remind you that these statements are not absolutes, and do not apply to everything, nor do I mandate should they be followed strictly. It’s called a ‘guide’ for a reason. With that note, let’s begin.

Roleplaying

Roleplaying is fun. If it wasn’t, then RPG-style games like ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ never would have sold, certain approaches in psychological therapy would not exist, Halloween would be a lot less celebrated, and adult-themed apparel would have a lot less variety. But roleplaying is not for everybody, either. Which leads you to this first step. Do you really want to play this game? It seems like a ridiculous question. That which should be answered by a sonic boom of ‘yes.’ Else, why would you be here, reading this guide to playing this game? But consider: even if you don’t roleplay the character, you are roleplaying yourself. Creating and playing as a character is roleplaying; you can either choose to act as the character you created in your actions, or you choose to act using actions that you would make. Determine the mindset, the personality of your character first, because whether you play as a nice guy or a badass, or any other personality, determines how you will deal with people, and how they deal with you.

Identity Preference

A subset of roleplaying is identity preference. What this term describes whether or not you are a survivor by life, Mrh?-cow in death; whether you like playing in a dual-natured manner, or whether or not you take the first high dive off a skyscraper you see. Some argue that dual nature is the only way to accurately play the game. Others list ways they think zombies are superior to survivors, and vice-versa. Regardless of your attitude towards character class, character type, or overall attitude at the outset, you will eventually finding yourself into one of these three categories: bringing life to Malton, snacking on the brains of the living, or doing both dependent on vitality.

Character Class

Upon determination of the above, you must now pick your character class. If you already have, don’t skip this, because within your class group skills remain very modular, and do outside of this class, but to a lesser degree. Now selecting a class determines three things: Character Class Group, Character Class, and starting equipment. For ease of this guide, I’ve listed the effects of each below.

Character Class Group

There exists three character class groups: Military, Civilian and Scientist. Starting off as a reanimated corpse still puts you in the ‘Civilian’ category when you so choose to live. These major over-arching categories determine how you are able to spend your experience points. Read the list below to see what I mean.

Military

Spends 75xp for all military skills, 100xp for miscellaneous and zombie skills, and 150xp for scientist skills.

Starts out with some sort of firearm.

Scientist

Spends 75xp for all scientist skills, 100xp for miscellaneous and zombie skills, and 150xp for military skills.

Only two classes.

Start out with specialized equipment.

Start out with no weapons.

Civilian

Spends 100xp to purchase any skill.

Starts out with weapons, specialized to their starting skill.

Start with some sort of communication device (radio receiver or mobile phone).

Character Class

There are a total of nine character classes for the game. If you are having difficulty selecting a class group, look at the entire skill list to determine what skills you would like to have later down the line. Chart out how much XP you’re going to need to sink to get those skills, and whether or not one of those skills is available for a starting class within that class group. Once you’ve made your choice, there’s no undoing it, save for spending the XP to get all the skills you want. This includes if you wish to play as a zombie role, though all their skills cost the same, and have a large amount of diversity for one class. Once you’ve selected your class, for whatever reason, you are now ready to begin playing. You are immediately dumped somewhere in Malton. A word of caution to survivors: if you don’t have free running, wait before you move. If you do, watch your step. If you fail to heed the above warnings, chances are that you will be locked out wasting your AP as you try and find a place to be not zombie food. Zeds, on the other hand, bon appétit. In either case you’ll find a lot of low level characters of all type ripe for the picking. Though among them includes you, and there are others with a few more skills looking to put you (back) in the ground trying to gain XP, themselves. So how do you deal with them?

Player Types

Here’s a set of breakdowns of types, each one in different proportions of the Malton population, but seeing as figures for that are hard to obtain, they are presented in no order representative of group size. The main groups I have bothered to list I generally use as an all-encompassing categorization to those people you may have to deal with. Articles are dedicated to those I have linked to, and should be investigated further for reference. However, I still would like to take a bit of time to talk about these here. Note that these are mainly informational, and do not provide actual techniques for dealing with any of them, but instead are presented as the current player archetypes, and are used for the reader to find a group he/she identifies most with and/or pre-formulate methods of dealing with the various kinds of individuals that may be found.

Survivor

Most Survivors you’ll run into are exactly that: survivors. But many generic survivors are also the kind that are ‘mutual survivors.’ This means that they see to it that they survive and that others survive, as well. They’re the ones that give you a FAK when you’re injured, they’re the ones that barricade without being EHBitches. They are sincerely invested in keeping everyone alive to help fight the zed plague. They’re your average members of society working together for mutual benefit of civilisation.

Trenchcoater

Trenchcoaters, or ‘trenchies,’ are an interesting sect of players that may be humourous at best, and downright aggravating at worst. Trenchcoating is more of a philosophy than an actual group, so while trenchies can be associated with each other, they do not necessarily work in concert, and therefore can’t be over-generalised. There are two ways to spot trenchcoaters, though neither is a hard and fast rule, but if both apply, it’s safe to say that they are, in fact, such. Often you can tell by their player description. Generally, they will have items not available in game such as various clothing items, (most likely black), sunglasses/shades, various times of blades (often Japanese and/or ceremonial) like a katana, and copious amounts of firearms (which may or may not be correlated to the type and number of firearms they actually have). The other general indicator is speech, while some may try to avoid this others utilise it in the most flagrant manner possible. ‘Leet speak’ (or ‘1337 5P34K’) generally is used, and often is accompanied by copious amounts of capital letters. They sometimes include crude or blue humour and are often defamatory, sometimes profane, and occasionally xenophobic. Other than being generally annoying while touting how cool they are in some remote cousin of the English language, they differ little from your typical survivor.

Bounty Hunters

Some resort to Player Killing merely as a way to stop anyone who would do more detriment to this movement by turning other survivors into zombies. Those who attempt to deal death back at these death-dealers are called ‘Bounty Hunters.’ They find those who provide evidence that they have died at the hands of another, and the Bounty Hunters go looking to avenge. Generally, they are well liked by the people, and PKers second-favourite targets, right after generic survivors. If you’re a zed or a known PKer, steel yourself or take a pre-emptive strike. If you’re a mutual survivor, then thank this societal beneficiary. Love them or hate them, Bounty Hunters are as integral to the game as PKers are.

Player Killers

Hostile survivors, AKA PKers are individuals that, as survivors, kill other survivors (not very good survivors) for whatever reason. Often malice is the cause, but there are numerous others such as: Free XP, fun, rivalries, hostility, stress relief, ‘get off my lawn’ and ‘that’s for breathing my air.’ Whatever the reason is, general strategy with such individuals is to avoid them, unless you, too, are one. With many PKer Groups abiding by HAT, fewer PKers (other than bounty hunters) are killing other PKers, and instead are aiding or healing them.

Griefer

Griefers may, or may not, be player killers, but the term arches over far more than just PKing. It means causing trouble for trouble’s sake, basking in the Schadenfreude of any other player that you cause, and having a damn fun time while doing it. Griefing is knowing that you have power over someone who otherwise wouldn’t care at all about you, and being able to effect great disgust from continents away, and going ‘I did that,’ and scooping up the collective rage all the affected in front of you, and digging in. Some believe griefers are the scum of the game, and shouldn’t be able to do what they do. And the griefers in that have succeeded, causing grief in those whose virtual, and by emotional extension, real, lives they have influenced. Greifers’ M.O.s vary widely, but their methods are limited among a few avenues. The first has been described to you already: Player Killing. This particular action may be targeted at an individual or individuals, or a group, or whomever is standing next to them when they scratch their back. The reasons don’t matter, the effect is the same. And dogged repetition may further the effect of their actions.

The same can be said of any other type of griefer. All your effort/resources/work/time/AP goes down the drain, sometimes with no escape. Generator Killers, Radio Killers, and DeCaders alike make life a living hell for the genric survivor. And in some cases, a dead hell too.

EHBitches

EHBitches seem to be a special case. Imagine someone who is doing an action that most members of society find objectionable, believing his/her actions are helping society, and cannot be persuaded otherwise. Behold the EHBitch and the Jigsaw Killer. Both fit into this category, but I am only speaking about one of those. EHBitches believe by over-barricading everything, no zombies can get in. Not a genuine griefer, but merely a deluded soul. Deal with them as you see fit, but if one is active in your area, be sure that you are inside and have free running. Exceptions to this who are genuine griefers, will be described as ‘OverCaders” instead of “EHBitches.”

Death Cultists

Death Cultists are those players who believe in the strength of zombies, even in life. They very often resort to tactics very similar to griefers to further damage the living. However, there are various death cultists embrace the benefits that being not-dead has to aid their cause. There are a couple varieties of death cultist tactics, pretty much unique to them, in addition to standard PKing, GKing, etc. There are various tactics and stratagems in a game. In this game, very often tactics are polarized into two sets: zombie tactics and survivor tactics. But there are a select few sets of ideas that eclipse this polarisation, that go beyond life and death, or encompass both of them. These are called trans-mortal tactics and are often used by both kinds of cultists. Since we are dealing with death cultists, who I believe have a more eclectic membership and strategy than life cultists, their trans-mortal tactics will be discussed as follows:

Zombie Spy

Zombie spies (or zpy, as I call them) are difficult to detect, and any involvement they have (should they attempt to disguise their actions) can be passed off as merely to extremely coincidental. They take advantage the ability of survivors to bypass most barricades and free run (if the skill is purchased). When they find a heavily populated target, that isn’t already prolific enough,(Malls, Forts, NTs) they may illuminate with a flare. The events attached to a zpy are as follows: individual shows up, individual illuminates building, then zombies show up and eat everybody but the individual, and proceed to ransack the building. Essentially, the zpy is a beacon leading a zed horde, thus making more zeds, adding to the zed cause (or just making a bunch of mrh?-cows).

Parachutist

There is a second tactic, similar to zpying that embraces the ability of the living to move past barricades from building to building. This tactic, called parachuting, is truly trans-mortal in that both types of existences are used by the same individual. The term is named because an infected individual free runs (‘parachutes’) in, runs his/her health out by searching the Building, stands up as a zombie, and proceeds to ransack the building/kill everyone inside. This presents an interesting situation should the building be ruined: ruined buildings cannot be entered by free running, and should they be heavily barricaded, there is no way to enter until the barricades are lowered, or the building is repaired, creating what is known as a ‘piñata.’ Parachuting and subsequent ransacking of Heavily Barricaded tactical resource points presents a major problem to all working for the cause of the living.

Suicidal

The last bit of death cultists are those who just are dying to die (or just can’t make a life out of living). However, with the numerous tall buildings around, death is only nine stories and a swan dive away. These individuals are the hardest to catch, as there is no notification that they have leapt to their deaths on to the asphalt below. But it is just as well. There’s no way to stop them, and no way to see it coming (or see it going, for that matter). It just happens.

Life Cultists

I’ve mentioned death cultists and their tactics as survivors. Naturally they have an analogous life counterpart: Life Cultists. These are essentially to survivors what death cultists are to zombies. Their numbers are significantly less in my findings, though they employ reciprocal tactics. Life cultists as survivors: there’s not a whole lot of data as to what they’d do different from a standard run-of-the-mill survivor, as that does seem to be their element of choice. All I have found, and this is a ‘maybe,’ not an ‘is,’ that life cultists have a higher than normal incidence of combat reviving, and of following the uniform barricade policy.

Combat Reviving

Combat reviving is an extremely polarising tactic that is used by some survivor groups in Malton. There are other survivor groups that absolutely will not combat revive under any circumstances. I’ll give a quick synopsis of what it combat reviving is, along with a few pros and cons. The main premise of combat reviving is to remove zombies from the area, or not wasting the ammo/health/AP to bring one down, especially if he’s swinging at you. What do you do? Jab him with a syringe and get outta there. He’s down for the count immediately, revivification acting immediately. That’s a combat revive. Good for self-preservation, and if the zed was dual-natured, one more for the cause. If not, then odds are the same, but you aren’t risking life or limb. On the other hand, if the zed is a rotter (more on that later), you’ve just wasted a syringe, an action point, and still have an angry shambling abomination in front of you. Also, if he’s a death cultist, or a PKer, there’s nothing stopping him from standing up, giving you both barrels, twice, and taking the nearest high dive back into the cement pond. If you wish to learn more ups and downs of combat reviving, check out its page for more information.

Uniform Barricade Policy

The UBP is by and large a suggestion, but it is also something that numerous survivor groups conform to. The UBP is a barricading policy/plan that allows numerous buildings to be barricaded greatly, in some cases, barring entry from street entrances, but allowing certain buildings to have entry, either to create free running corridors, or to allow non-freerunning players to enter and gather the resources they need. Just because the UBP is supported by numerous survivor groups in the area, do not expect that they will always necessarily be maintained. Barricades, with zeds, griefers, decaders, EHBitches, etc. the barricade levels are in a constant state of flux. The policy is by no means a guarantee of barricades, but merely presents an idea that would be beneficial to most survivors.

Zombies

Zombies form the meat of this game, not to say that they are more important than survivors, but merely that they are what the game is based around. You can’t have a zombie game without zombies. It just wouldn’t work. But the fact that every one of these is also a player character, this leaves a massive amount of variety in actions undertaken by them. You may have zombies that attack people, or each other, that may swarm buildings, or be biological exhibits, that eat brains or bran (seriously, I’m not making this up!). Some consider it ‘bad roleplaying,’ others consider it to be just as fitting as PKing is in the game. So again, even with a semi-predictable way for a roletype to be played, there is still much variance in zombies, themselves. In addition to the variance in roleplay, there are even variances in organisational structure, where the zombie decides to act for something bigger than itself, or of its own accord with no attachments to any group or cause other than Barhah and consuming the flesh of the living.

Horde

Hordes are groups of zombies generally moving together with a unified direction, if not, a clearly-defined, unified purpose. They are among the most well-organised groups, sometimes coordinating massive actions involving hundreds of undead, such as the numerous sieges on Malton's forts and malls. Often zombie hordes will coordinate by utilising both metagaming and in-game communications, among which include feeding groans, bellows, and even the movement of the horde itself. The very presence of a sizable horde, combined with feeding groans/bellows, tends to draw numerous, otherwise unaffiliated zeds in their wake. These feral clouds have been known to coalesce into massive groups around the core horde, sometimes more than doubling the total number of zombies.

Feral Zombie

Feral zombies are, by definition, 'zombies unassociated with any organised group of other zombies.' They tend have 'little access to metagaming information', 'rely[ing largely] on in-game clues to locate viable survivor targets.' In other words, feral zombie is feral. Most zombies are feral, and their combined numbers vastly surpass any organized horde. Their gameplay can be just as varied as the individual that plays them. Ferals may or may not be nomadic, aggressive, opportunistic, merciless, or hungry, but anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that they generally are all of the above. While certain groups define themselves as a 'group of ferals' (such as the Feral Undead), most ferals pledge no allegiance to anything but brains and Barhah. Due to them being drawn to flares and groans, expect a few to shamble on over shortly after to wherever such events occurred.

Griefer

Griefers are much less predominant in the zombie communities merely by lack of available actions in the game. Zombies are expected to ‘shamble over that way and tear it up.’ So decading, GKing, RKing, etc. are all very acceptable behaviors for zombies. About all they can do that would be remotely considered griefing is attacking other zombies. This is known as ‘zombie killing’ or:

ZKing

ZKing is a potential form of griefing that is caused by one zed attacking another. This is not to say that all instances of ZKing are griefing, but rather that it can be griefing. Others say it’s free XP, and therefore permissible. Because zeds cannot overcade, nor are any of the ‘standard’ griefing tactics unexpected for your generic zed, the prevalence of zombie grief is not readily visible, regardless of how much takes place.

Death Cultists

Truly in their element as zombies, death cultists are all for the speeding up of the end of the current world and bring Zombie Jesus clothed in Barhah to secure their spot in his new kingdom. Perhaps a bit faecetious, but still the method is the same: kill the living. Zombie death cultists, other than being right at home, tend to differ little in behaviour from most other zombies. They maim, feast, and kill, annihilating any people or property in their way. But unlike life cultists, who have no skill to cement themselves to life, death cultists can show such devotion to their side by the purchase of such a skill. Those who have shown this dedication, unable to be revivified except under the absolute, most select circumstances, are known as:

Rotters

Zombies with the skill ‘Brain Rot,’ affectionately known as ‘rotters’ are individuals that have made every effort to embrace Barhah and prevent themselves from ever returning to life. Brain Rot prevents revivification of the individual under normal circumstances. The only way to be revived is in a powered NT building, by an individual with NecroNet Access (it has been done). Seeing as there is no way to ‘drag’ zombies to NT buildings, avoiding such buildings allows rotters to stay zombified indefinitely.

Parachutist

See corresponding survivor article for Parachuting.

Life Cultists

Life Cultists generally try to avoid being dead as much as possible, and when death overcomes them they, by and large, behave predictably, consigning their fate to either that of a mrh?-cow or a ZKer. However, there are a very select few that use the opportunities in death for something more.

Mrh?-Cow

The aforementioned Mrh?-cow is a fascinating phenomenon to observe. It tends to congregate around revive points uttering the sound for which it was named. These zombie specimens typically standing where they congregate, otherwise comatose, except for the occasional utterance of “mrh?” until they are eventually revived. Hobbies associated with Mrh?-cows include cow tipping that, unlike its real-world counterpart, does not involve any tipping over of cows, but instead emptying both shotgun barrels into its chest.

Loyalist Spies

The minority of those that aspire to be something more than Zkers or Mrh?-cows while benefit the survivor cause, even in death, have begun to surface. Loyalist spies are the extremely few individuals that have embraced the anonymity of being ‘a zombie’ to gather info about horde movement, size, etc. and relay it to survivor groups through metagaming. Essentially, a loyalist spy is the life cultist analogue to a zpy.

Dual-Natured

Dual-natured individuals are probably the most in character way to play the game. They behave as generic survivors when alive, and generic zombies when dead. Thus they have no real allegiance to any one life-(or death-)style. These are the survivors zombies hope to kill, to add to their ranks, rather than to the revive point line. These are the zombies combat-revivers hope to revivify, to fight the zed plague. Often viewed as the 'pure' way to play the game, many will conform to this suggestion, providing a more organic, and overall enjoyable, experience for all parties involved.

Noise Abatement Society

In my wikisurfing, I ran into three select groups, called 'Noise Abatement Societies' that I thought odd, and couldn't really find a place to wedge them into my guide. So they shall go here. My understanding of these groups' motivation for what they do is as follows: "SHHHHHHHHHH!! You! Yes, you! with your generators and your breathing. Shut up!" Only much less courteously, with subsequent actions speaking much louder and clearer than the preceding phrase. The three NASs are zombie groups unified under the goal of keeping a specific building ruined, and the surrounding area free of 'noise.' Currently there are three groups: Two of those groups, of which are working in concert to keep Dartside's St. Ferreol's Hospitol at a cool '0 dB'. The third group is currently in an embittered battle with noisy survivors over [Grandon_Place_Police_Department_(Brooke_Hills)|Brooke Hills' Grandon PD], which remains, as of this writing, in the hands of the living. All attempts to offer earplugs to the NASs have been met with hostility.

Dealing with People

Now that the various types have been listed, there are generally only a few ways to deal with people based on your predisposition: ignore them, avoid them, kill them, hunt them, respond to them or cooperate with them. Each has its own potential merits and can change based on mood, health, AP, etc. Going through the list of actions, I’ll describe a scenario that I would take the above action. Ignore: I’d just bite the bullet and ignore the annoying trenchie. Avoid: 13 health as a survivor and taking a cross-city jaunt where my AP goes into the red in a zombie occupied suburb, I’d attempt to hide in unoccupied ruins. Kill: As a zombie, any survivor. Hunt: Often what a Bounty Hunter would do to an individual, also a Griefer targeting a specific person. Respond: A cry of help from a fellow survivor while I have plenty of AP and a FAK. Cooperate: Any zombie mob trying to take down an NT Building.

Well, that’s it. I hope my examples and lists of individual classes and player types, will allow you to drop into Malton more informed than your typical survivor. Thank you for reading this guide; I hope to see you around the city, and look forward to dealing with you, someday.

--Jon Aiken RSZ !

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